Edcite – Engage your students with Common Core practice




If you are looking for a way to have your students practice for the SBAT with questions that are presented in the same format as the test, check out Edsite.com .  Sign up for free and see thousands of question sets that have been created by other teachers that you can assign to your class for practice – or create your own.  Questions can be presented in the same format as the standardized test, preparing students for the testing experience. Reports are also available allowing you to see what questions were missed by each student so you can revisit topics that students need review on!

Photos for Class

UntitledPhotos for Class is a great place to send your students when they are looking for photos to place in their documents. Not only is it a ‘safe’ place where only school appropriate photo’s will be found, but the downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms – a great way to have kids learn to cite their sources!

Can your students search the internet effectively and safely?

chromebook-kids2One of the most important skills we can teach our students – and ourselves – is effective Web searching. For almost any project  a Web search is an integral piece, yet how skilled are students at finding accurate and relevant information quickly? The volume of information – Web ‘hits’ – is overwhelming and most searches don’t go past the first page of results.

When we teach students to search, it takes more than a single lesson. It’s a learning process where skills are developed through trail and error and the searcher paying attention to how they approach the search.  Using appropriate keywords and phrases is a skill to be developed, along with learning how to vet search results – are they accurate, authoritative, and credible, and how would you know that?  It’s not always easy!

UntitledGoogle has a very useful web site for educators in helping student learn these skills.  Their Search Education site offers you and your student many resources, such as lesson plans, short online courses, Google a Day Challenges, and recorded webinars.  Using these resources to help your students learn the art of effective Web searches will help them save time and improve the quality of their research results.

iPads – It’s all about the Activity!

We all know that the key in using technology in the classroom is to use it to enhance student learning and provide opportunities for students to creatively express what they have learned.  Since the value of an app is in it’s application to learning, how can we find apps that match our learning objectives?  Here are two sites that may help you.

apptivitiesApptivities.org has a  list of activities – and the apps you can use – to get you started in the right direction.



edtechteacherThe EdTechTeacher.org site has a page where you can search by the kind of activity – and even device – not limiting you to the iPad.

National Engineers Month is February – request a free class presentation by a professional in a STEM career field

becNational Engineers’ Month is February 2015

In Oregon, the Business Education Compact coordinates guest speakers for National Engineer Month. Teachers and schools may request a FREE class presentation by an industry representative of a STEM career field.  Through grade appropriate presentations and demonstrations, volunteers raise student awareness of the opportunities and rewards of working in a STEM-related field. For general info go to the Business Education Compact site for the state of Oregon.
Registration with the BEC is required and November and December is the window for making your request.

Wondering what the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is?

Take a look at this short series of videos produced by ASCD.org. It’s a great overview of what the concept is and how it can revolutionize your classroom! (click on Play All to see the entire series of short videos)

Use Ted-Ed to create your own interactive lessons using a Youtube video




Would you like to create a lesson based on a great YouTube video?  TED-Ed is a free educational website for teachers and learners.  You will find carefully curated educational videos created by other educators on just about any topic.   This platform also allows you to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. You can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact a class, or an individual student.  Creating an account is free and no account is required for students to view your lessons.

STEM and UAV’s

UAV-legoAn exciting way to provide STEM and project-based learning opportunities in your classrom is to include a unit on UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).  Using ready to assemble kits you can introduce core STEM topics such as math, programming and engineering fundamentals through building and flying UAV’s (often referred to as  drones).  High Schools can also include  fundamental engineering and prototyping skills such as wood working, carbon fiber mold making, laser cutters, and 3D printers.  Kits are easy enough for elementary students to build while more complex units with GPS capabilities can be constructed by middle or high schools classes.

Step beyond passive learning and encourage your students to actively invent and build solutions to challenging problems, test hypotheses through hands-on experimentation, and to develop critical inquiry, analysis, technical, and motor skills.

There are many sources of information and UAV kits available online:

  • For kits, check out Hoverlabs, an Oregon company with a focus on education.  Hoverlabs.net
  • For general information on UAV’s you can go to DIY Drones www.dyidrones.com




iPad Resources for Teachers – from Apple

Apple has a new area on their web site for teachers. In addition to info on using apps you can find resources on using iTunes U and iBooks with your students. iTunes also has an area with a curated collection of apps, books, and media from the App Store, iBooks, iTunes U, and iTunes with engaging learning resources in core subjects. Check this iTunes collection if you are looking for primary sources (oral histories, official documents, archival film, and artifacts)  to help make history more engaging and authentic.

Capture a YouTube video on your computer for use in class

YouTube has some great content for the classroom (check out the Education channel here) yet we often need to have the video on our computer for showing later or even need to capture just a portion of the video – to illustrate an idea or concept perhaps.

ClipConverter is a great tool for doing this, allowing you to save the video in MP4, AVI, or MOV formats, in various resolutions, and even clip just a portion of the video as needed. This is probably the best tool I’ve seen for this purpose.  The YouTube Education channel is a great resource, and clipconverter helps in using that content when you need it.